Bettini critical of Tafi; Porte to Sun Tour; Landis: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

The list of critics regarding Andrea Tafi’s bid to ride Paris-Roubaix next season is growing. A countryman and former teammate called Tafi out for “stealing somebody’s place.” Also, Richie Porte is set for an extended stay racing in Australia to begin his season. And Floyd Landis has taken action against the U.S. Attorney General. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Bettini critical of Tafi and wants cycling overhauled

Paolo Bettini, a former teammate of Andrea Tafi on Mapei from 1999 to 2002, criticised Tafi for his bid to ride Paris-Roubaix 20 years after his victory in the Hell of the North.

“To Andrea I say: I hope you do not ride, you have to do more in life at age 52,” Bettini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “His action has gotten media attention, but it would be much better that he thinks about giving an opportunity to a young person. In doing so, he steals somebody’s place.”

Paolo Bettini and Andrea Tafi during the pre-race activities for the promotional Amstel Curacao Race in October 2002. Photo: Cor Vos

While Bettini was critical of Tafi, he blasted cycling for its structure. He claimed it was unreasonable that WorldTour, Pro Continental, and Continental teams compete in the same races. In this, he highlighted he could start a team with a sponsor providing 30 million euros but still compete against teams with 2 million euro budgets.

In 2013, Bettini stirred a media frenzy with claims of forming a new cycling team alongside Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso. The project did little more than blow smoke, with no concrete sponsor or rider signings ever coming to the forefront.

The Beauty of Cycling

This one is a few days old, but it popped while we were surfing Instagram and thought it was impressive enough to show all of you. The rider in the video is Alec Briggs who rides the Red Hook fixed-gear crit series for Specialized Rocket Espresso.

Race Radio

Porte set for month-long Australia racing stint

The King of Willunga Hill, Richie Porte (BMC Racing), will once again kick his season off with the Australia national road championships at the beginning of January. The Tasmanian, who will race for Trek-Segafredo in 2019, will race in Australia through the Herald Sun Tour (Jan. 30-Feb. 3). He last competed at the Sun Tour in 2011.

In addition to the Sun Tour, Porte will line-up at the Santos Tour Down Under (Jan. 15-20) and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (Jan. 27). He will be a heavy favourite at Down Under, as the Willunga Hill stage has been moved to the final day. Porte has won atop the famous climb the last five years. His victory in 2017 cemented his overall win that year.

The King of Willunga. Richie Porte (BMC Racing) has won atop Willunga Hill the last five years. Photo: Cor Vos

Landis goes after U.S. Attorney General

Floyd Landis is dipping toe into political waters. He has taken the peculiar approach of challenging the legality of the acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, according to USA Today. Landis reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in the final case surrounding the civil fraud lawsuit against Lance Armstrong and others. However, Landis’ new motion has put that settlement in doubt.

Landis has called into question whether Whitaker can legally be the acting head of the Justice Department because he was not approved by the Senate.

Landis’ recent settlement agreement involved the US$1.2 million the Justice Department was seeking from Johan Bruyneel. Landis argued he was due part of that money because he was the whistleblower in the case. He settled with the Justice Department for US$122,870, but that settlement is now in flux due to the filed motion.

Floyd Landis used part of the settlement money he got from Lance Armstrong to start a continental team.

ATOC to announce host cities on Dec. 5

As a result of the forest fires that have ravaged California over the last month, organisers of the Amgen Tour of California have the moved its 2019 host city announcement to December 5. The race takes place May 11-18, 2019.

Amgen donated US$500,000 to the relief fund for those affected by the wildfires and US$250,000 to the Ventura County Community Foundation’s Conejo Valley Victims Fund. The latter fund goes to the victims, families and organizations providing support after the shooting tragedy that occurred on November 12 in Thousand Oaks. Amgen is based in Thousand Oaks.

Egan Bernal (Sky) won the 13th edition of Amgen Tour of California this year. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images for AEG

Boonen out at Lotto-Soudal

Tom Boonen, who retired from racing at Paris-Roubaix in 2017 and worked as an advisor for Lotto-Soudal this season, appears to be on his way out the door with the Belgian squad. Het Nieuwsblad reports an all-staff meeting was held this week and Boonen was not present.

“At the moment Tom is not part of my plan,” Team CEO John Lelangue said. “I will definitely talk to him because he is with his [palmares] and his personality someone who can definitely add value to the team. Only he must have a full function for this and at the moment it is not clear to me how exactly we can fill it.”

Tom Boonen during a press conference for Lotto-Soudal on February 22, 2018. Photo: Cor Vos

Lotto-Soudal underwent management changes this offseason with former CEO Paul De Geyter, who hired Boonen, being replaced by Lelangue.

Tech News

Fizik Vento Overcurve X3, a new performance off-road shoe

Designed for cross country, gravel or cross, the Overcurve X3 off-road race shoe is Fizik’s latest addition to its Vento range of performance products. It features a single Boa IP1-B dial for retention, while a Microtex upper features an asymmetrical shape that’s designed to naturally curve with the foot.

Sitting on the second step in Fizik’s shoe range, the Overcurve X3 offers a carbon infused nylon sole (as opposed to full carbon), a choice that helps with the low 576g (EU42) claimed weight. Available in three colours, the shoes are available in sizes 36-48, with half sizes from 37-47. At US$250, they’re priced to compete with popular second-tier options from Shimano, Specialized, Bontrager, Giro and more.

Happy Birthday to …

Stephen Roche (59), the Irishman is the last rider to achieve cycling’s triple crown — winning the Giro, Tour and world road race championship in the sam season. His magical 1987 season also included 12 wins with overall victories at the Tour de Romandie and Vuelta Ciclista a la Valenciana. Eddy Merckx is the only other rider to have achieved the triple crown and did so in 1974.

Now, Roche can be heard commentating on major races for Eurosport.

In case you missed it …

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